'He felt he was a cop': Family's outrage at 'obsessed' neighbourhood watchman who gunned down black teen
- Trayvon Martin,17, was shot dead by George Zimmerman, 28, last month
- Zimmerman claims self-defense and has not been charged
- Teen's family says newly-released 911 tapes show Zimmerman was the 'aggressor' not Trayvon
The neighbourhood watch captain who shot dead an unarmed black teenager last month wanted to be a police officer and called 911 nearly 50 times within the last year, according to new reports.
No charges have been filed in the February death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shot in a gated community near Orlando by self-appointed watchman George Zimmerman, 28.
Zimmerman, who admitted to shooting the teen, said he fired in self-defense and has not been arrested in the case.
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Target: Trayvon Martin, 17, left, was killed by George Zimmerman, 28, right, after the neighborhood watch captain pursued him as walked in a gated community
According to the Miami Herald, Zimmerman volunteered as chief watchman at the Retreat of Twin Lakes Townhomes after its homeowners association decided to jumpstart the programme following a spate of burglaries.
Licensed to carry a concealed firearm and a student of criminal justice, neighbours told the newspaper Zimmerman took nightly patrols while walking his dog, and was passionate about his duty.
Records acquired by the Herald show his self-appointment led to a series of calls to police. From January 1, 2011 to February 26, 2012, Zimmerman reportedly phoned authorities 46 times - to 'report disturbances, break-ins, windows left open and other incidents'.
His calls account for some of the 402 made to police from the 260-unit complex, according to the Herald.
Cynthia Wibker, secretary of the homeowners association, credits him with solving crime in the area.
'He once caught a thief and an arrest was made,' she said, adding that he helped to solve 'a lot' of crimes.
But Trayvon’s family attorney, Natalie Jackson, told the newspaper Zimmerman took his new position too seriously.
Athlete: In Zimmerman's 911 call he said Martin, pictured, looked like he 'up to no good' and on drugs as the teen returned home with skittles for his brother
'Zimmerman felt he was one of them; he felt he was a cop,' she said.
Sanford police officials, who have not charged Zimmerman after accepting his claim that his actions were in self-defense, released eight 911 calls on Friday after mounting pressure.
'Zimmerman felt he was one of them; he felt he was a cop.'
- Natalie Jackson, Martin family attorney
Zimmerman had called 911 to report a suspicious man and can be heard pursuing Trayvon on foot against the dispatcher's advice causing the teen to run away.
Moments later the police are bombarded with calls from terrified neighbours as a voice in the background can be heard desperately screaming for help before the sound of two gun shots.
When police arrived at Twin Lakes they found Trayvon, who had been returning from a store with candy for his younger brother, had been shot dead by Zimmerman.
'This guy looks like he is up to no good. He is on drugs or something,' Zimmerman told the dispatcher from his SUV.
Grieving: The teenager's mother Sabrina Fulton, centre, and father Tracy Martin, left, are said to be devastated after hearing the 911 calls of their son's last moments
Fighting for justice: Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump said 911 calls show the teenager spent the last few moments of his life terrified - and says Zimmerman should be charged
He added that the black teen had his hand in his waistband and was walking around looking at homes.
'These a*******. They always get away,' Zimmerman said.
During Zimmerman's initial call, he told the dispatcher he was following Martin and the dispatcher told him, 'You don't need to do that.'
'We’re hoping this doesn’t happen again to another family, and that America opens their eyes ... even though this won’t bring Trayvon back. We don’t want there to be another Trayvon.'
- Tracy Martin, victim's father
But Zimmerman sounds as if he continues to pursue the teen saying: 'He ran.'
He then refuses to meet police officers at an agreed location and asks for them to call him on arrival instead so he can tell them where he is.
Moments after Zimmerman's initial call, dispatchers were bombarded by seven 911 calls from frantic neighbors describing a fight between two men, screaming and then a gunshot.
'There is somebody screaming outside,' one female caller said, as an unknown male voice can be heard crying in the background. Then a shot is heard.
A male caller described a physical altercation between Martin and the shooter.
'I just heard a shot right behind my house,' The caller said. 'They're wrestling right behind my porch. The guy is yelling 'Help.' I'm not going outside.'
Scene: Martin was visiting his father and stepmother in Sanford where they live at The Retreat at Twin Lakes, pictured, when he went out to buy snacks for his younger brother
By the time police officers arrived, unarmed Trayvon, who had been carrying Skittles and soda, was dead on the ground from a single gunshot
Another woman said a man in a 'white top' was on top Trayvon.
Martin's family had demanded the release of the calls to help better understand how Martin died while walking home from a convenience store.
'We are committed to having somebody review this to see if we made a mistake. If we made missteps and there is something there, we will act accordingly.'
- Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett
'He was yelling for help, and no one could help him. He saw his life being taken away from him,' the teen's father Tracy Martin said.
He said they will continue pushing for charges to be filed against Zimmerman.
'We’re hoping this doesn’t happen again to another family, and that America opens their eyes... even though this won’t bring Trayvon back. We don’t want there to be another Trayvon,' Mr Martin said.
After listening to recordings of 911 calls, Martin's family said they're more convinced than ever that the Zimmerman should be charged with a crime.
'You hear a shot, a clear shot, then you hear a 17-year-old boy begging for his life,' Ms Jackson said. 'Then you hear a second shot.'
Tragic: By the time police officers arrived, unarmed Trayvon, who had been carrying Skittles and soda, was dead on the ground from a single gunshot
The case has been turned over to the State Attorney's Office which can decide whether to file charges or present evidence to a grand jury.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is also representing the family, told reporters outside Sanford City Hall that Martin's parents both broke down and cried as they listened to the recordings.
'They are completely devastated, and they are in unbelievable grief,' Crump said. 'The last seconds of his life were in absolute fear.'
He added that a third witness has come forward saying it was the boy who was crying for help.
Trayvon's parents, Mr Martin and Ms Sybrina Fulton, previously sued to have the recordings released. A hearing for the case had been scheduled for Monday.
Earlier on Friday, Trayvon's parents called on the FBI to take over the investigation, saying they no longer trusted the Sanford police department.
Happier times: Trayvon's family believes Zimmerman should be charged and brought to justice for shooting their young son
Sanford police Sergeant David Morgenstern said the department stands by its investigation but welcomes help from any outside agency. FBI agent David Couvertier said the agency has been in contact with Sanford police and is monitoring the case.
'We are committed to having somebody review this to see if we made a mistake,' said Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett. 'If we made missteps and there is something there, we will act accordingly'
Trayvon's family believe Zimmerman should be charged and brought to justice for shooting their young son
Several Sanford residents who spoke to The Associated Press said they think there would have been an arrest already if the shooter had been black and the deceased had been white.
They said blacks and whites in this city of 53,000 residents were pretty much in agreement that an injustice had been done with no one arrested, and that there was no racial divide in how the case is being perceived. The city is 57 percent white and 30 percent black.
Zimmerman's father delivered a letter to the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday, saying the way his son is being depicted in the media is cruel and misleading.
He also says his son has received death threats and moved out of his home. George Zimmerman is Hispanic and grew up in a multiracial family, the statement says.
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